Some thoughts for Wednesday.
(otherwise known as ‘On Loki and Odin: A Personal Perspective’)
I’ve come to realize that Odin and Loki are much more alike than they are different.
…and yet if you are in any way familiar with my journey, you may recall that I spent at least four years of the last eight of my devotional practice
Perhaps my reaction was borne of listening to hype/gossip of others – including some Odinspeople themselves – who painted Odin as a stern taskmaster, a grumpy Old Man, a mystical instructor who is impossible to please much less work with…and yes, I believed all those things about Odin.
(Perhaps, in that regard, I was rejecting many aspects of the Work with a capital W.)
But I soon realized that I rejected Odin with the same hypocrisy that some Asatruar reject Loki:
He is untrustworthy.
He is impossible.
He is a monster who is out for the ruin/destruction of the order of my life.
He exists to cause (me) pain.
And thus, I did not call upon Him…. ever.
But He showed up anyway.
Much like Loki, Odin didn’t seem to take to being banished or ignored.
(Perhaps it may have energized Him even more to haunt me….who knows?)
Sometimes I have wondered if He fed upon my rage and anger.
It definitely seemed as if He enjoyed my stubborn reluctance to engage Him.
One particular Odins-man remarked to me that
perhaps the reason why Odin seemed so relentless
was due to His nature as the consummate Huntsman:
How could I expect that He would not hunger for the thrill of the chase?
You see, I dreamt of Odin consistently beginning in 2011 or so.
He was at the center of many a nightmare I’d had of being pursued through the darkness.
Whether I had dreamt of the unease of walking home alone, only to be followed by a shadowy stranger
to the feeling that I was being actively hunted as frightened prey,
I dreamt of this…terrifying being.
During one particularly repetitive nightmare, I dreamt that I was a child again, playing hide and seek in the New England woods outside my childhood home.
Though in this situation, there was this sly aggressive adult stranger who was ‘It’, and somehow he could always convince the others in the dream to help him find me.
And what always followed was a pulse-pounding chase – with the help of my own childhood companions! – and whenever he would come upon my hiding-place, he would make it abundantly clear that he sought to kill me.
He would then order me to run for my life, and so I would run…. night after night.
At one point, I realized I must have had this dream nearly a dozen times.
Though one night, I did something different:
As usual, I was in the midst of the usual terrifying nightmare spent running in terror…and I felt exhausted.
Tired of running. Tired of hiding. Tired of trying to outwit and outmaneuver him throughout various terrifying situations.
I felt resigned to my death.
I begged him to finish me quickly.
Just get it over with, I’d muttered.
However, in response, he spat on me, before he strode away.
And thankfully soon after, those nightmares stopped.
Though something strange happened next.
A Being whom I’d wanted to assume was Loki began to appear in my dreams with many different faces and guises.
I dreamt of a clever Doctor.
Twice, I dreamt of a ferryman.
An unfamiliar but graciously attentive bridegroom.
A laughing farmer who labored in the fields,
who would not enter my house unless I intentionally invited him inside.
A young blond man with eyes that appeared to be made of glass
who insisted that I refrain from looking too intently at his face
who wanted to talk to me about runes!
Perhaps I had been foolish
enough to have convinced myself that
if this or that face was not Loki’s
then the face of that stranger had to have belonged to Freyr,
or even Baldur.
Who was that laughing blond gentlemen with the courtly demeanor, with those strange blurry eyes, and a voice like honeyed silk?
I never dared assume that that Being could be Odin.
And what’s more, whenever Loki would come to me in dreams and meditative visions
to ask me if I could bring myself to engage with Odin – I would immediately and emphatically refuse.
Perhaps you already have, He’d chuckle, even though the concept of engaging with Odin horrified me.
I was certain that if I had engaged with Odin, I would have known it.
(After all, I was confident that all those years of nightmares had taught me that Odin’s presence had always been signified by that familiar onrush of fear and the rise of nausea in my body.)
Until I started to wonder…..
And six years later, here we are.